Sunday, May 08, 2011

state of equilibrium

live blogging from the washington state level 4 gymnastics meet...

this is not quite on par with documenting the revolutions in the middle east, or the olympic games...but for dozens of 10-year old girls (and their parents), it's close.

four events: vault, bars, beam, floor. four chances at glory. or glorious failure. nothing in between.

for the parents, that is. the competitors remain happy, either way.

the falcons gymnastics team from seattle is looking serious in their purple and lavender leotards. the girls have on their game faces, if by "game face" we mean giggly smiles.

it took a good showing at the sectionals meet to qualify for state. gymnasts had to average scores of 8 or better on each event. the girl child was thrilled to tally a 33.8 to qualify. today, however, she says she's shooting for 9s. which is what it will take to be competitive, scoring-wise. not to mention parent-wise. no, the missus and i will be thrilled with any performance not resembling a fish flopping around on a small boat in high seas. also, we'd prefer that her head not make contact with the beam at any time.

the falcons first event: floor. avery is pretty good in this event. she scored a solid 8.65 at sectionals.

random observation: she's built like a gymnast. while a lot of the girls are still skinny and lanky, avery is muscular and powerful. also, fearless.

the first three falcons went 8.65, 8.6, 8.75.

avery's turn...looking cute. looking strong. no nerves (except mine, shaking the video slightly). good routine, with a little extra hop-step on the back handspring. good for an 8.675. big smiles as she runs off the floor. she's happy. i'm relieved.

event number two: vault. in which the athlete runs really fast, launches off a springboard, does a front somersault-handspring-thing and lands flat on her back on a big cushy mat. the girl is good at this, too. she scored an 8.9 at sectionals, so a 9+ here is not far-fetched.

the girls get two chances on vault, and they count the best of the two.

avery with two good vaults. she ran fast and back-flopped well. good enough for a 9.1 !! that's her first score of 9 or better. she picked a good time for it. normal breathing (mine) should resume momentarily.

this event is being held at the emerald city gymnastics center in bellevue. they have a "wizard of oz" theme going on, i believe. otherwise the chick wearing sparkly red shoes and the dorothy costume is going to have some explaining to do to security.

next up: bars. the girl is not as proficient at this event. she scored a shaky 8.5 here at sectionals. she typically practices and warms up well, but has a hiccup or two when it counts. today's warm-up: not encouraging. much under-rotating, over-rotating, and upside-down hanging. this is not what her coaches teach, in case you were wondering.

ooh, not good. practice predicted performance. a big error on the forward spin left her hanging upside-down when she should've been right-side up, atop the bar. this is a shame, because the rest of the routine, before and after, was rock-solid. she pulled it together to stick the landing. (i love that phrase..."she sticks the landing!" it always reminds me of little kerri strug on vault at the olympics. one of the most courageous moments in athletics, ever).

the error showed in her score: 8.3.

all that's left is beam. i don't feel good about this, as it's her shakiest event. she wobbled like a weeble throughout her sectionals performance~actually putting her hand on the beam at one point~and still pulled an 8.025 out of somewhere.

hopefully she feels better about this than i do, since that's all that really matters.

lots of teams and lots of girls here today. usually organization is lacking at these meets, causing the proceedings to drag on and on. and on. so far, however, the events are moving right along. this is good. my butt is starting to hurt from the sitting and complete lack of leg room.

the falcons are taking a break between events. they're on the opposite side of the gym, making it difficult to overhear their conversation. doubtless they're all locked into what they've accomplished so far, and what they need to do to finish strong. let's move closer and listen in...

bla bla bla, something something, justin bieber.

great. no one could've predicted that.

okay, break is over. the girls are up and practicing on beam. the girl a weeble. she's falling off over and over again. this does not bode well. what's happening now? the girls are sitting down again. another break? bla bla bla, taylor swift.

okay, it's go time.

and the first falcon gymnast is off the beam. poor thing. she looked really nervous.

now it's avery's turn. i can't breathe. i can barely look. thankfully i'm
viewing her from across the gym through a teeny video lens, so it all seems far and wee. one little wobble. another little wobble. almost through falls! and she sticks the landing! what just happened here? that was one of her best performances on beam ever!

and the judge screws it up. an 8.225? really? that ain't right.

but it doesn't matter. it was a great routine. she didn't fall off, and she finished with a flourish.

for the meet, she scored a full half-point higher than at sectionals, with a 34.3. and she came away with a cool new sweatshirt with her name on the back. on the front it says, "i bust mine to kick yours."

she's very pleased.

and we are giddy.

i would've liked one of those sweatshirts, though...

Sent from my iPad

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